All About Voiceover Demos Part 1

Voiceover Lessons for Beginners #6 Part 1

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Text Synopsis:

Lesson Focus: This is Lesson 6, Part 1. In this part, we’ll take an overview look at the current VO demo landscape, which has gotten very complicated over the last 10 or 15 years. Part 2 will discuss the specifics of how to actually make your demos.

Traditionally most voice actors had a couple to a handful of demos reels each representing a fairly broad category – like commercials, characters, narration, audiobooks and so on. These reels were – and still are – a collection of short excerpts from longer pieces, edited together to show range within that category, and were usually from about a minute to 2 or 3 minutes long. Some talent had more specific demos for sub-categories, and some used a single commercial as a demo.

Today things have gotten really specific. If you check out the casting sites like Voice123 or Voices, you’ll see actors with many compilation demos, as well as individual clips posted. These compilations can be very specific, like insurance commercials, mobile tech explainer videos, warm & friendly reads etc.

On the casting sites, demos and clips are tagged with various descriptors like conversational, authentic, authoritative and so on, to optimize them for site search, and to make it easier for the buyers to find what they’re looking for quickly.

There is a wide range across the talent pool of number of reels and clips posted, and it is unclear to me if there is one strategy that is the most effective.

But to start off, go with whatever you’re good at right now, and just put the good reads – meaning professional level – on your demos. A mix of compilations and individual clips will probably be the best approach for most performers.

In Lesson 6 part 2, we’ll discuss the mechanics of getting your demos and clips made. Your assignment for now is to go online and start listening to talent demos. The easiest way is to go to and (or the preeminent casting sites in your region) and look around. Keep in mind you will benefit more from observing what successful pros are doing, so be selective while observing.

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